DJ Cookbook Dinner Vol. 1

The DJ Cookbook Dinner series launched last Monday, February 1st at Black Flamingo. Tickets sold out and a diverse group of people attended; from industry influencers and DJ staples to longtime Marcy Hotel voyagers.

The goal of the dinner series is to pair a DJ and a Chef to collaborate, from inception, on the creation of a five course vegetarian menu and a unique musical accompaniment. The first edition’s participants, chef Jacob Boehm and DJ Ryan Cavanagh aka Slow Hands proved, once again, how talented they are. While everything went smoothly, we learned a lot and there is definitely room for improvement.

Without knowing each other before, Boehm and Slow Hands curated the experience via phone and e-mail. They developed dual themes of interwoven layers and the letters A.G.E.D to represent foods and music scales. While they didn’t quite interpret the ideas in the same way, the complexity of the execution made the meal and music seamlessly intertwine to the naked eye and ear.

Boehm built his menu from winter New York farm staples like apples, carrots and dairy. Slow Hands, on the other hand, built an entire live set to the chords A, G, E and D. Musically, it went from more ambient to dance-y just in time for dessert, which was definitely the most instagramable (and maybe most tasty) moment of the night; thanks to pastry Chef Rachel Schmidt for her genius. The Videri chocolate nuggets, with root cake, cider and a schemer of deliciously rich quark were served on LPs. Yes, 12 inch records, but no worries vinyl lovers, most of them were pretty scratched and all were recycled.

I had been working on organizing the event for months and none of it would have been possible without the DIY attitude of our community of Chefs and DJs who are always down to earth and willing to get their hands dirty. Jacob drove up from North Carolina and stayed at my apartment. Instead of planning the meal in advance, he created the menu by going to the Union Square farmers market and choosing all the freshest ingredients . Ryan planned his performance at his studio in Vermont and drove down the day of the event.

Making money was never the goal of this project, instead community building is at the heart of it. I feel really lucky to know first-hand that a good idea can inspire artists and chefs to collaborate and create a space for more awesome people to get to know each other.

Thanks again to all those who helped us put on a great night, you know who you are. And here’s to many more DJ Cookbook Dinners!

Left to right: Jacob Boehm, Alison Polaski, Rachel Schmidt, Ryan Cavanagh, Dave Robertson.